photo of Elaine Cogan

Elaine Cogan

Elaine Cogan, founding principal of the Portland, Oregon planning and communications firm of Cogan Owens Cogan, has consulted for more than 36 years with communities undertaking strategic planning and visioning processes. Elaine has been honored for her work on a variety of citizen involvement projects, including “Complete Communities for Clackamas County,” which received the American Planning Association's 2002 Public Education Award.

Between 1991 and 2009, her “The Effective Planning Commissioner” column ran in the Planning Commissioners Journal. All of her past columns (along with her new ones) are available here on

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Lighten Up

Being a planning commissioner is a serious job, with serious responsibilities. However, if you take the opportunity to engage your community in stimulating and enjoyable planning exercises, you will find a receptive audience and reap positive results.

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Lessons from the Oregon Experience

In November 2004, Oregon voters approved Measure 37 — perhaps the most drastic approach to limiting government “takings” in the nation. Long-time Oregon resident and PCJ columnist Elaine Cogan offers her insights on why voters supported this measure.